LAS VEGAS -- American Honda Motor Co.’s product and marketing boss says the company needs to take more risks with marketing to create a stronger bond with consumers.
That means allocating marketing funds and time for new ideas and approaches and accepting the fact that some ideas will fail, Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of automobile operations at American Honda, said Wednesday at the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable.
Accavitti said Honda has already reallocated about 30 percent of its marketing budget this year to fund more risky initiatives. Previously, American Honda’s entire marketing budget was spent to achieve sales, consideration, brand awareness and other goals.
Now, with the same budget, Accavitti says 70 percent of the budget is expected to achieve 100 percent of those goals via vehicle launches, TV advertising, digital advertising and other mainstream efforts.
Twenty percent is now set aside to fund marketing initiatives that may advance Honda’s business goals but that use new mediums or approaches that lack empirical data to prove they’ll work. The other 10 percent will go toward what he says are cutting-edge marketing initiatives that have high upside for the brand but also a high probability of failure.
“We need to take some more risks with our marketing; initiatives that aren’t just trying to move metal but [are trying to] establish deeper connection with customers and give them a reason to be our brand ambassador,” Accavitti said.
Accavitti has already overseen a massive restructuring in Honda’s U.S. marketing operations in the past year.
He steered an agency review that moved the Acura advertising account to Mullen from longtime agency RPA and moved media buying for both Honda and Acura brands to MediaVest. RPA previously handled all media-buying and advertising duties for both Honda and Acura. Accavitti said he also created a social media department to design new content to be shared by consumers online.
Honda and Acura have already produced campaigns under this 70-20-10 strategy. Acura’s sponsorship of the “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” Web series with Jerry Seinfeld, which has seen a 40 percent spike in viewership in its second season, is an example of a “20 percent” initiative.
Honda’s “Best Yourself” Civic campaign with entertainer Nick Cannon is another one. The campaign, produced by Muse, Honda’s African-American advertising agency, centers around a two-minute minifilm of Cannon driving in a Honda Civic with a voiceover monologue about self-empowerment and self-improvement intended to resonate with young African-American buyers.
Accavitti said Cannon’s Twitter presence led to 70 million impressions for Honda and 2.5 million views of the two-minute spot. Cannon has 4.6 million followers on Twitter.
Accavitti said: “You can expect to see more of these types of campaigns in the future.”